Produced on January 25, 1942, in Loureno Marques, Mozambique, Eusbio joined Portugal’s Benfica team as a teen. Voted among the 20th century’s top players, Eusebio was honored by his former team having a statue as well as the creation of the yearly Eusbio Cup. On January 5, 2014, the football star died of heart failure in the age of 71. Raised in the poor area of Mafalala, he honed his footwork by playing football having a rolled up paper, and finally landed using the area professional team, Sporting Clube de Loureno Marques.
News of his fit abilities reached Bela Guttmann, manager of Portugal’s Sport Lisboa e Benfica team, who sought to sign the adolescent. A conflict ensued over Eusbio’s rights, as the Mozambique team was affiliated with Sporting Clube de Portugal, but Benfica emerged as the victor of his services. Eusbio made his debut for Benfica as a 19-year old in 1961. Despite his youth, he overwhelmed opponents with his speed, evasive moves and strong shots on goal.
Nevertheless, he’s possibly best remembered for his performance throughout the 1966 World Cup in England. Eusbio scored once as Portugal came up short against ultimate winner England, and again in the consolation triumph on the Soviet Union. Although he was not able to lift his side to the greatest success, Eusbio made a lasting impression along with his tournament-leading nine goals.
The iconic sportsman spent most of the rest of his profession in North America, notably leading Toronto Metros-Croatia to success in the 1976 Football Bowl, before retiring in 1979. Eusbio completed ninth in the International Federation of Football History and Statistics’ survey of the 20th century’s leading players. To many, he’s unquestionably the greatest star in the history of Portuguese football, a status affirmed by his statue beyond Benfica’s Estdio da Luz.
Benfica honored the icon together with the development in 2008 of the Eusbio Cup, a yearly preseason match involving the Portuguese team as well as a highly regarded international competition. Eusbio was hospitalized with pneumonia in December 2011 and endured several health drawbacks in the next months, however he was healthy enough to join Benfica for its visit to the 2013 UEFA Europa League final in the Netherlands. On January 5, 2014, the football star died of heart failure at his Lisbon house. He was 71 years old.